326 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. also by the failure of an attack on Yezd. He had been obliged by his nobles to recall Ashraf from Kandahar and to declare him his heir. Moreover, Aman Ulla Khan had deserted his standard, and though he had made a pretence of reconciliation it was obviously hollow. Mahmud, to ease his mind, retired into a vault for the ascetic contemplation known as Tapassia,1 and after four- teen days of this existence his mind became totally unhinged. The Massacre of the Safavi Princes. — Hitherto the blood royal had been spared in the awful massacres, but Mahmud, crediting a false rumour of the flight of Safi Mirza^ now gave orders for the execution of the entire royal family except the wretched Husayn. With his own hands he began this extermination, in which thirty-nine members of the unfortunate dynasty are stated to have perished. The Death of Mahmud, A.H. 1137 (1725).—This was the last recorded act of Mahmud, whose madness in- creased after his bloody work had been carried through. The Afghan nobles, threatened with an attack by Tahmasp, hastily elected Ashraf to the throne, and Mahmud died shortly afterwards, or possibly was killed by the orders of Ashraf. His Appearance and Character.—Krusinski, who un- doubtedly saw Mahmud, gives the following graphic description of him : " He was middle siz'd, and pretty squat: his Face broad, his Nose flattish, his Eyes blue and squinting a little, his Look fierce. His Physiognomy had something rough and disagreeable in it, discovering a Cruelty in his Nature. His neck was so monstrously short, that his Head seem'd to grow to his Shoulders. He had scarce any Beard ; and what he had was carotty. His Eyes were generally down-cast, and he look'd always as if he was musing. " He was extremely severe in military Discipline: more fear'd than belov'd by his Soldiers ; they valued him for 1 Tapassia is a Sanscrit word from tap, worship. It is adopted by the Moslem Dervishes from the Hindus, and signifies that the spirit temporarily leaves the body and becomes united with the godhead. There is a chapter in the Shastra on this subject.